Senior State Dept. Ukraine Expert Says White House Sidelined Him – The New York Times

Republican lawmakers who participated in Mr. Kent’s questioning blasted Mr. Connolly for talking publicly about his testimony. Representative Lee Zeldin of New York claimed Mr. Connolly had only been in the questioning for “about a second, maybe it was two seconds. And he walks about, he starts telling the public what substantively happened behind closed doors.” He added: “This entire process is such a clown show.”

Mr. Connolly said he attended the questioning for more than an hour and a half.

Democrats defended their investigation, and said it was bearing fruit.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said the inquiry was being conducted behind closed doors to preserve its independence, and insisted that Republicans on the committee had been given an equal opportunity to ask questions.

Mr. Schiff said that the committees had made “dramatic progress” in understanding the July phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky that prompted the whistle-blower complaint. And the witnesses, Mr. Schiff said, had made clear that there was a paper record that had not been provided to Congress, despite numerous subpoenas.

“The case of obstruction of Congress continues to build,” he said.

New requests for depositions continued to stack up. The committees wrote on Friday to two top officials at the White House budget office, requesting they appear next week to discuss the suspension of security aid to Ukraine, according to one of the officials. They targeted Russ Vought, the office’s acting director, and Michael Duffey, a senior Trump appointee there who was said to have helped approve orders freezing the funds. The letters to the men said merely that investigators believed they had “information relevant to these matters.”

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The picture that has emerged from the private testimony that has been offered so far has been striking. First, Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump abruptly removed this spring as United States ambassador to Ukraine, on Friday offered a blistering assessment of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. The president’s allies had shoved aside career diplomats, including her, in service of “false claims” by outsiders working for their own personal and political objectives, she charged.

Then on Monday, Fiona Hill, a former top White House adviser for Europe and Russia, said that she and John R. Bolton, the president’s then national security adviser, objected strenuously to what they viewed as the hijacking of relations with Ukraine by unofficial channels. In her testimony, Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as warning he would not be part of any “drug deal” between other Trump appointees and Ukraine, and calling Mr. Giuliani a “hand grenade.”


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